Owners’ observations on scratching behaviour in cats

Colleen Wilson and others, Wildfern Way Greely Ontario

Scratching is part of a cat's normal behavioural repertoire, employed to stretch the forelimbs after rest, sharpen or shed claws, and used in chemical and visual marking. However; scratching in the home may cause damage to property and create conflict between the cat and its owner Options for dealing with the problem include providing scratching posts, clipping or covering the claws and, in those countries where the controversial practice is legal, surgical removal of the claws (onychectomy). The authors carried out an internet-based survey of the opinions of more than 4,300 cat owners from 39 different countries. They described offering a wide range of different substrates for their pets to scratch. Carpet was the most commonly offered material but rope was the most widely used when it was available. Cats preferred to use posts with a narrow base and at least 1 m high. Intact and neutered cats were equally likely to scratch inappropriately but this behaviour did become less frequent with age. Providing a number of different scratching posts made of different materials reduced the likelihood of inappropriate scratching.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18(10), 791-797

In vivo assessment of subcutaneous body fat in dogs using ultrasonography

Rita Payan-Carreira and others, University ofT ras-os-Montes and Alto, Portugal

Measurements of body condition score are used widely in veterinary practice to monitor progress in reducing obesity While these techniques are cheap and easy to use, they are not very effective in measuring small changes in body fat levels. The authors describe trials of an alternative technique, involving real time ultrasonography and image analysis to assess subcutaneous fat deposits in dogs. Their preliminary data shows a strong correlation between body condition score and subcutaneous fat thickness estimated from the images. The images with the best predictive value for overall body condition scores were those collected from the lumbar and abdominal areas.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica

Open Access Journal http://actavetscand.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1751-0147-57-S1-P9

Use of trazodone to reduce behavioural signs of stress in hospitalised dogs

Shana Gilbert-Gregory and others, Ohio State University Columbus

There is increasing evidence of the negative effects of stress in the postoperative period on wound healing, susceptibility to infection and gastrointestinal function in veterinary patients. The authors investigated the effect of the antidepressant and anxiolytic trazodone on a range of behavioural signs of stress in hospitalised dogs. There was a significant reduction in the frequency of behaviours classed as frenetic (eg, licking of lips and pacing) or freezing (eg, averted gaze and pinned-back ears) following trazodone administration in the treatment group compared with untreated controls.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249(11), 1281-1291

Assessing signs of frailty in aged dogs

Julie Hua and others, Locci Veterinary Clinic, Drancy France

Frailty is a clinical syndrome in older humans characterised by a decrease in physiological reserves and an increased vulnerability to stressors. The authors investigate whether there are reliable indicators of a similar process in dogs. A group of II6 aged guide dogs underwent a clinical geriatric assessment to find whether there is a canine frailty-related phenotype associated with reduced longevity. Their findings confirm that signs of frailty such as chronic under-nutrition, exhaustion, low physical activity poor mobility and physical weakness, were risk factors for death in these animals and so the concept of frailty in dogs does merit further investigation.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 77(12), 1357-1365

Knowledge of, and attitudes towards, pain in dogs among Canadian vets

Adam Beswick and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Ensuring optimal welfare in patients in veterinary clinics is dependent on appropriate assessment and treatment of pain. Over recent decades, there is evidence of a much greater understanding of, and willingness to provide, postoperative analgesia in small animal practice. The authors carried out an online survey of the knowledge and attitudes of Canadian practitioners. There was strong agreement with the importance of providing pain relief and only a minority expressed concerns about the cost or potential side-effects of analgesic drugs. Female veterinary surgeons tended to have higher estimates of the likely pain resulting from particular procedures.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57(12), 1274-1280

Hiccup-like response in a dog anaesthetized with isoflurane

Enzo Vettorato and Federico Corletto, Dick White Referrals, Newmarket, UK

Hiccups are a brief but powerful inspiratory effort accompanied by closure of the glottis. The phenomenon has been studied in cats but there are no clinical reports of an association with anaesthesia. The authors describe a case in a dog, an eight-year-old Golden Retriever bitch being prepared for a magnetic resonance imaging examination. The hiccup-like movements began soon after the induction of general anaesthesia and intubation and were unaffected by hyperventilation or increased anaesthetic. After switching from isoflurane to propofol anaesthesia failed to stop the movements, administering a neuromuscular block allowed the imaging procedure to go ahead.

Case Reports in Veterinary Medicine

Open Access Journal https://www.hindawi.com/journals/crivem/2016/8127496/

VOL 32 • April 2017 • Veterinary Nursing Journal